LIRR Mobile Tickets Have (Finally) Arrived

Long Island Rail Road Station. (Photo by Joe Abate)

Welcome to the 21st century, Long Island Rail Road.

The LIRR announced Monday that its mobile ticket app—MTA eTix—has been released system-wide and is now available for download on iPhone and Android smartphones.

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The free app allows riders to purchase digital tickets on all 11 LIRR branches prior to visiting a station.

It also means that Long Islanders equipped with the app will no longer have to race to a ticket booth before catching the train.

Riders have a variety of ticket-purchasing options to choose from via the app, including one-way, round-trip and monthly tickets. To get started, users must create an account and link it to a credit or a debit card. After purchasing the ticket, riders can activate the ticket in order for it to be validated by an LIRR employee on board a train. Multiple tickets can be purchased by a single rider using the app.

Last month Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that LIRR e-tickets would be available on all railroad lines by summer’s end. At the time, the technology was only available on the Port Washington branch.

Screenshot of the LIRR's MTA eTix tutorial.
Screenshot of the LIRR’s MTA eTix tutorial.

“This e-ticket system for the railroads is where the economy is now,” Cuomo said back in July. “You take out your device. You scan it, and you pay for something. That’s how it works, and that’s how it’s going to work on the railroads.”

Cuomo also joked how the Metropolitan Transit Authority once used chalkboards to display train times. His point: the slow-churning wheels of the MTA bureaucracy is making progress.

“It’s bringing the railroads to the same level of technology as most services, which is an extraordinary upgrade in the case of the MTA,” Cuomo said.

LIRR customers who prefer paper tickets won’t have to worry about ticket booths going the way of antenna TVs since the agency will keep ticket machines operational.

Along with a full rollout on the LIRR, the app is also now available on all Metro-North branches.